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Power lines, substations being upgraded with ADB funding

- Rajesh Khanal, BUTWAL

Dec 18, 2017-Power lines and substations are being upgraded in 49 locations across Nepal with funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to enhance the electricity distribution system.

The project will improve the load-bearing capacity of transmission lines in the country, allowing the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to provide power to rural areas where there is little or no access to electricity.

ADB has provided funding for the electricity transmission line project under its South Asia Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Power System Expansion Project. 

Under SASEC’s Electricity Transmission and Supply Improvement Project, 132 kV transmission lines are being upgraded to double circuit from the existing single circuit system. 

Likewise, the Energy Access and Efficiency Improvement Project will upgrade the existing substations besides installing new substations to handle the supply of high power energy.

Among the 49 locations, the ADB has started upgrading the transmission lines in Jhapa, Mahottari, Siraha, Sarlahi, Dhanusha, Ilam, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi and Butwal. Likewise, the scheme is being implemented in Mirmi in Syangja, Swayambhu and Mulpani in Kathmandu, Phedi in Kaski, Kusma in Parbat and Mainapokhar in Bardia. 

Pushkar Manandhar, ADB project officer, said that the installation of a new substation in Mainapokhar, Bardia had been completed; and that the enhancement of the existing substations in Butwal, Dhangadhi and Gaddachowki in Mahendranagar had 

been finished. 

According to Manandhar, expanding the capacity of the substation at Mirmi, Syangja will take six months. “In addition, 60 percent of the civil works at most of these locations have been completed.” 

The ADB in collaboration with the Norwegian government has been working to enhance energy supply along the Kohalpur-Dhangadhi route. Bibek Chapagain, energy advisor at the Norwegian Embassy, said the Norwegian government had provided a $20-21 million in grant for the project. 

“The existing distribution system is a bottleneck for electrification, so the Norwegian government has been providing support to improve the distribution system by upgrading and rehabilitating transmission lines in the region,” Chapagain said. 

Bishwo Ranjan Mishra, in-charge of the NEA Western Division, said the enhancement of transmission lines had been completed in Ilam, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi, Sarlahi, Butwal and Mahottari among the locations selected for the first phase. “We are now installing new substations in these places,” Mishra said. 

Mishra said that these substations were being fitted with advanced equipment with support from the ADB. “Based on annual demand projections, these substations are expected to support electricity supply for the next 10 years,” Mishra said. 

“In addition, the equipment at the substations can be customised to evacuate energy via 400 kV lines when electricity production increases as under-construction hydropower projects come online.” 

As per the ADB, it has started electricity supply enhancement work at 25 additional locations. They are Amua in Rupandehi, Taulihawa, Krishna Nagar, Gadda 

Chowki in Mahendranagar, Chandragadhi and Buluchowk in Jhapa, Nijgadh and Simara in Bara, Rautahat, Belbari in Morang, Jaleshwor in Mahottari and Jare in Dhading.  

According to Manandhar, new substations are being built in Baniyani in Jhapa, Parwal in Mahottari, Mirchaiya in Siraha, Barathawa in Sarlahi and Dhanushadham in Dhanusha. 

Meanwhile, the NEA has started work to build five substations at various locations in the Kathmandu Valley in a bid to improve power distribution with ADB support. To this end, the state-owned power utility has selected two Chinese companies to award construction contracts to build 132 kV substations at Mulpani, Phutung and Chapagaon and erect 220 kV substations at Lapsiphedi and Changu Narayan.

The enhancement of the electricity distribution system is expected to ensure quality and reliable electricity supply. Damma Shahi, a retailer in Bhurigaun, Bardia, said locals had been benefitted with the installation of a new substation in the area. 

“Apart from ending power shortages, the substation has enabled people to use electrical appliances like water pump, mill and television, among others,” Shahi said. 

The SASEC Power System Expansion Project is expected to be completed by December 2021. The total cost of the project is $440 million. 

The ADB has signed an agreement with the government to provide financial assistance of $191.2 million, most of the amount in loan, for the project. 

Published: 18-12-2017 08:49

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